Farm­ers liv­ing in fear of crim­i­nals

Sex trafficking, il­le­gal raves and thefts re­ported

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS - By Jo-Anne Rowney jo-anne.rowney@trin­i­tymir­

FARM­ERS are be­ing threat­ened by gangs, hav­ing live­stock and ma­chin­ery stolen and weapons used against them.

The Thames Val­ley Po­lice and Crime Panel has heard the types of ru­ral crime farm­ers and landown­ers are fac­ing and the im­pact it is hav­ing.

Farm­ers and landown­ers re­counted ex­am­ples of poach­ing, sex trafficking, ma­chin­ery be­ing stolen, il­le­gal raves, and hav­ing their fam­i­lies threat­ened.

Po­lice have had re­ports of women be­ing brought from Europe on the ve­hi­cles used to take away stolen ma­chin­ery.

Chair­man of the Bucks branch of the Na­tional Farm­ers Union An­thony As­ton spoke at the meet­ing re­cently about the vi­o­lence, say­ing farm­ers faced peo­ple with weapons.

He said: “When they have tried to stop peo­ple steal­ing ma­chin­ery they have been threat­ened – and their fam­i­lies have been too.

“Some live in fear. Once there has been one in­ter­ven­tion by a gang, [there is that] fear they will come back again.

“I have had some­one come in with an air weapon who was tres­pass­ing on our land.

“We called the PCSO who came and man­aged to ap­pre­hend them.

“More could be done though.”

Mr As­ton said ma­chin­ery stolen by gangs, of­ten was in Europe 24 hours later and sheep that had been stolen were not traced, rais­ing the ques­tion where they were sold.

He said: “You can’t lock ev­ery gate and door be­hind you when you’re work­ing.

“They are of­ten watch­ing you any­way so it’s a real prob­lem.”

The Bucks branch of the Coun­try Land and Business As­so­ci­a­tion, Christo­pher An­sty, said he had a trailer and trac­tor stolen after he had at­tached them to pre­vent the trailer be­ing taken.

“They just took both,” he said.

As­sis­tant Chief Con­sta­ble Alan Bald­win, whose port­fo­lio in­cludes ru­ral crime, said those re­spon­si­ble were or­gan­ised, worked in gangs and some­times to or­der.

He added po­lice had run tag­ging events to help trace stolen ma­chin­ery and he said the cul­prits were of­ten those also com­mit­ting ur­ban crimes and were not from the area.

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